Container Gardening – Not As Simple As I Have Been Told

dead container plant I have had some back problems and have a lot of trouble getting up and down when working in my tiny garden.
Then like a flash of lighting it came to me. Grow vegetables in containers placed at a height that makes it easy for me to attend to my plants. Not the best plan I have ever had.

Being my first real attempt to container grow vegetables is not as easy or working as well as I was led to believe. Being my first attempt at container gardening, not just some indoor potted plant, I decided on 2 tomato, 2 summer squash and 2 hot pepper plants.
I selected pots and containers that hold about the same volume of soil as a 5 or 6 gallon bucket.

So far my little plants have managed to survive being dug up by my dog, a hail storm that covered the ground with 3/4 to 1 inch hail and a wind storm that had wind gust to 79mph.
Now it’s the first week of June, temperatures are in the mid to high 90’s everyday and I almost lost everything due to my ignorance on how quickly the soil in containers can go bone dry.

Those guys that are the so called experts on container gardening, must have their container grown vegetable garden growing in a green house! With no dogs, cats, thunderstorms or setting out directly in the hot afternoon sun.

And another thing that I have been miss lead on is how quickly soil nutrients are leached away and must be replenished to maintain proper plant health and growth. So as badly as I dislike making and using manure tea, I think it will be a must do thing when watering my container growing vegetables.
I will attempt to keep my tomato plants well supplied with well dried, finely crushed egg shells in hopes that my tomato’s will not suffer from a lack of calcium during their fruiting season.

Other than being over run with wild morning glory (aka bind weed or tie vines) my real tiny garden is doing fairly well, thanks to all the effort and help in tilling and planting that has been done by my SNL, son-n-law. Tomato’s, peppers and cucumbers are growing well and showing no signs for stress that I see in my container garden.

Am I the only guy on planet earth that can’t grow a tomato in a bucket full of dirt?

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Why is common sense so uncommon?
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11 responses to “Container Gardening – Not As Simple As I Have Been Told

  1. My area usually goes over 100F about 4-6 weeks in summer, so I’ve found container gardening challenging unless using some kind of self-watering container with a medium or bigger water reservoir.

    Now that I’ve finally had an almost acceptable cherry tomato harvest from a big self-watering pot, I’m learning that the cheapie, common tomato wires (3-pronged with a few circles at the top) doesn’t work very good. Next time, I’ll copy an idea from a neighbor a few streets away, and wrap the pot with rebar.

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  2. What are you using for a soil mix? If you’re having problems, it almost always comes down to the soil. Most commercial mixes are designed for neglected houseplants, not vegetable growing.

    Typically I grow my veggies in 5 parts pine bark, 1 part perlite, 1 part peat. It drains quickly, allows plenty of air to the roots, and holds some moisture. Its essentially hydroponic culture, so you have to fertilize often, but plants love it.

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  3. I found the key to container gardening is to have a hose readily accessible. I water my containers twice a day. After much whining about dragging a 100 ft hose around the yard, my husband designed a system of 4 hose reel boxes each with a 25 foot hose, connected together (using splitters) from the main house spigot. Great time saver. Can now water everything in half the time.

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  4. I put my garden in wooden raised beds this year with one foot of dirt and some six month miracle grow in the soil. They were doing fine with no watering. We live by the river so get nightly fog.(didn’t work last year because of the drought). But I now have the opposite problem. Too much water, rain.
    Because they are enclosed with landscaping material on the bottom the rain doesn’t drain as good and they are yellowing with too much moisture. I have a zuchinni in a five gallon bucket with a hole in the bottom and it is doing great. Also a watermelon. Much easier to contain without fighting the Johnson grass which makes weeding here almost impossible.
    I had to surround the garden with a cheap plastic fence ($20) to keep the dog out and thankfully he doesn’t bother the 5 gallon buckets. This is the dog that last year thought my beautiful tomato plants were great play things and used the root balls as toys to toss around. He now knows better…I hope.
    I water my buckets twice a week if we don’t have rain. Summers here are pretty much 100 + so I do know about stewed tomatoes on the vines!!

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  5. Another alternative is to look into “nursery grade” flower pots from a big online retailer that sells things from “a to Z” and is the biggest online book retailer…. Didn’t want to outright say it, since I don’t get anything for it.

    At any rate, these containers are a simple black thin plastic that’s strong and durable. They come in all sizes… but I would recommend 3 gallon and 5 gallon sizes. If you need any more details, drop by my blog and send me a message.

    Don’t give up!

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  6. Tomatoes do amazingly well in earth boxes but the boxes are kind of pricey. I always grow my peppers in containers, I saved the large containers my fruit trees came in and I have better luck that way than in the garden. But I water every day.

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    • Re: lovesoldstuff – Thanks for taking time to visit my humble little blog.
      Big Grin …. I am learning that I must water at least once a day. I now water before setting down for my morning coffee on my back porch! Thanks for your comment(s)
      Happy summer gardening

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  7. I line my pots with newspaper and that helps retain the moisture, but I also water every day in the sunny weather. We have “Tomorite” plant food for tomatoes, I have never used any other fertiliser and that works a treat. don’t know if you have that over there.

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    • Re: lodgehousebandbsomerset – Thanks for visiting my tiny blog.
      There are a number of good off the shelf quality fertilizers available. I was just ignorant about how often containers would to receive supplemental fertilizing.
      Happy summer gardening

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  8. No, you are not alone. I’ve done the same thing. Learning everything the hard way.

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  9. You need an Earthbox! That will solve all of the above-mentioned problems—even the digging by animals.

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